Focus Your Résumé to Hit the Target

When writing your next résumé, remember this: You must tell employers exactly what you can do for them. Don’t force them to figure it out for themselves.

The best way to do this is to start your résumé with a clear objective or summary statement. Of these two choices, an objective with a job title is the better way to begin. It shows that you know exactly what job the employer is trying to fill. Example:


Restaurant Manager where more than 10 years of food service and management experience will contribute to efficient operations.

If you don’t know the job title, you can start your résumé with a summary. This will focus the reader on your relevant skills, while giving you a bit more flexibility to apply for different jobs. Example:


Seeking a position where more than 12 years of sales, management and operations experience will add value.

Whether or not to use an objective or summary is a sticking point for some people, who want to be considered for all jobs.

This is a mistake.

A focused résumé is a powerful résumé. A résumé that tries to be all things to all people ends up being nothing at all. If need be, you can always write a second or third résumé to give yourself more options.

Throughout the body of your résumé, continue to focus, this time on achievements — good things you’ve done for prior employers or while in school. By contrast, most résumés focus on job duties and responsibilities, which forces the employer to read between the lines and guess at your true value.

Be specific, using dollars and numbers whenever possible. Example:

“Created and managed Client Solutions Division in 1998. Led sales, support and hardware teams to penetrate computer market. In one year, gained 80% of market share against IBM, while meeting sales goal of $5 million.”

When you focus your résumé on the job you want and the good things you’ve done, you make it easier for employers to envision the good things you can do for them. And that will make the phone ring.

Best of luck to you!

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